The Eastern Michigan University softball team opened up the 2014 season spending the weekend at the USC Upstate Tournament in warm Spartanburg, S.C. EMU split the four games between Friday and Saturday.
The Eagles took the first game of the tournament with a 3-1 victory over the University of Virginia for Melissa Gentile’s first victory as EMU’s head coach.
“It feels great to start the season with a win,” Gentile said. “The girls had some good energy and it is very noticeable.”
EMU lost the next two games, falling to USC Upstate 8-0 and to Towson University 8-7 in nine innings before winning the final game of the tournament 2-1 in eight innings over North Carolina Central.
The offense struggled for the majority of the tournament. Other than the Towson game, the EMU bats only mustered five runs on nine hits in the three other games. All three runs in the win over Virginia were scored off of miscues between the pitcher and the catcher, while the two runs scored in the win over NCC weren’t scored until the extra frame.
“Hitting is going to come along,” Gentile said. “We’ve spent the fall hitting off of a tee or hitting off of our pitchers, we just need to adjust to facing opposing pitchers other than our own.”
Pitching was a problem last season, but there was a sign of improvement in the tournament.
“We were without our senior [Lauren Wells], but the girls did a good job in her place,” Gentile said. “As I said earlier, the girls have come out with a very noticeable energy. It will take some time to put it together, we will have growing pains, but it is good to come out here and play like this early.”
EMU will play next in two weeks to Fort Myers, Fla, to compete in the Florida Gulf Coast Tournament Feb. 21-23.